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Aug 12, 2011

Domestic Relations – Civil Practice – Rule 41(b) Dismissal – Inadequate Findings – Contempt – Appeals

Church v. Decker Even though plaintiff failed to appear at a hearing on his own motions, the trial court’s order dismissing plaintiff’s motions pursuant to N.C. R. Civ. P. 41(b) does not show that the court considered lesser sanctions before dismissing the motions. We reverse the dismissal of plaintiff’s motions and remand for further proceedings. We also reverse the trial court�[...]

Jul 29, 2011

Domestic Relations – Civil Practice – Contempt – Ability to Comply – Attorney’s Fees – Unemployment – Parent & Child – Custody Modification 

Williams v. Chaney Where the plaintiff-mother was not disabled but, instead of getting a job, she chose to spend an inordinate amount of time making frivolous filings in this custody case, the trial court could find that the mother had the ability to pay the attorney’s fees that the court had ordered her to pay as a sanction.

Jul 11, 2011

Domestic Relations – Civil Practice – Contempt – Property Settlement – Consent Order – Real Property – Mortgages

Howard v. Flowers A consent order required that the plaintiff-husband pay the defendant-wife $50,000 each April in 2009, 2010 and 2011 and he secure those payments with a note and deed of trust in favor of the wife on the husband’s farm valued at $300,000. The husband failed to make the 2010 payment and, at a show cause hearing, testified that he was unwilling to execute the note and de[...]

Jun 24, 2011

Domestic Relations – Parent & Child – Visitation – Contempt – Child Support Payments – Mental Health Evaluation

Maxwell v. Maxwell Even though the trial court acted within its authority when it ordered the plaintiff-father to undergo a mental health evaluation, the trial court was nevertheless required to make findings as to the father’s unfitness as a parent or as to the children’s best interests before the trial court suspended the father’s visitation privileges. We affirm the trial cour[...]

Jun 15, 2011

Civil Practice – Order Closing Case – Rule 41 – Administrative Closure – Domestic Relations – Post-Separation Support – Ability to Pay – Contempt

Dillingham v. Dillingham The plaintiff-wife showed that the defendant-husband had $50,000 in IRA accounts during the time that he was $22,500 in arrears in post-separation support. The husband failed to present evidence of any impediment to his access to the IRA accounts or any penalty he would incur if he withdrew funds. The evidence supports the trial court's finding that the husband's [...]

Jun 14, 2011

Domestic Relations – Civil Practice – Contempt – Interim Attorney’s Fee Award – Psychological Evaluation

Church v. Church Plaintiff's motion to set aside an interim attorney's fee order did not list any of the grounds for reconsideration set out in N.C. R. Civ. P. 59; therefore, the motion did not stay the time for filing an appeal. Plaintiff's notice of appeal from the interim attorney's fee order - filed several months later - was untimely.

May 9, 2011

Domestic Relations – Civil Practice – Contempt – Discovery – Production of Documents – Attorney’s Fees

Campbell v. Campbell Although defendant did not produce documents by the date set out in the court's order, since he had already produced the documents by the time of the contempt hearing, the trial court could not hold him in contempt.

Jan 11, 2011

Domestic Relations – Civil Practice – Contempt – Consent Order – Spousal & Child Support – Distributive Award – Personal Expenses

Raprager v. Raprager. Even though a modification of defendant's support obligations may be warranted based on the decline in his business revenue, by his profligate spending after the June 3, 2008, consent order and his failure to pay his obligations . . .

Jan 6, 2011

Civil Practice – Contempt – Deposition – Sanctions – Rule 45 – Rule 37

First Mount Vernon Industrial Loan Assoc. v. Prodev XXII, LLC. The trial court did not err by holding a nonparty who failed to appear at a duly noticed deposition in contempt under Rule 45(e). However, the trial court erred by sanctioning the nonparty . . .

Dec 17, 2010

Domestic Relations – Contempt – Failure to Pay Child Support

State v. Mann. (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-16-1198, 7 pp.) (Cressie Thigpen Jr., J.) Appealed from Pamlico County District Court. (Cheryl Spencer, J.) N.C. App. Unpub. Click here for the full text of the opinion. Holding: When evidence is clear that a defendant has failed to comply with the court’s orders to pay child support and […]

Nov 24, 2010

Bankruptcy – Contempt – Discharge – Collection Attempts – Real Property – Taxes & Assessments

In re Kirkbride. (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-05-1115, 11 pp.) (J. Rich Leonard, J.) E.B.N.C. Holding: Despite a consent order relieving the debtors of their obligations on two mortgaged properties, the creditor continued to harass the debtors in an attempt to collect on the debts, failed to pay the taxes and homeowners’ dues on the properties […]

Sep 16, 2010

Domestic Relations – Custody – Visitation – Substantial Change in Circumstances – Contempt

Mull v. Mull. (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-16-0897, 7 pp.) (Sanford L. Steelman Jr., J.) Appealed from Buncombe County District Court (Rebecca B. Knight, J.) N.C. App. Unpub. Holding: A modification of a final visitation order must be supported by evidence of “a substantial change in circumstances.” When a party is found in contempt, the court […]

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